Stephanie Jagl-Posch

riding and other stuff.

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an ode to the great outdoors.

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today i went on a little solo hiking mission on my beloved muckenkogel. the muckenkogel is a mellow mountain in lower austria, just a 30 minute drive from my home, which offers 4 different routes to the summit from one starting point and a few more from other points in the valley. the muckenkogel is only a bit over 1200 meters high, still you will have to master 900 meters altitude difference when you start your hike in the valley. all these facts make the muckenkogel a perfect mountain for me to work on my endurance. other than that, it’s also really beautiful there, thus i want to sing an ode to the great outdoors (not odors… post-hike odors are not ode-worthy in my book).

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the summit of the muckenkogel in the upper middle of the picture.
hiking is not a badass activity. it’s not glamorous, neither is it very exciting. still, i get excited on a regular basis when i’m hiking and this emotional high is due to the wonderful feeling that being in nature gives me.
i love to take in the vibrant colors of the sky, the plants, the rocks, the animals. when i’m inside a coniferous forest and i inhale the wonderful smell of a warm forest floor covered by needles from the trees it feels like a short holiday for my brain. watching butterflies twirl around in the air delightens me. and discovering a lizard or a beautiful bird is natures version of a surprise egg to me.

these sensations, combined with the physical demand of walking uphill and downhill, make hiking one of my favourite past-time activities.

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waterfall number 1 of 5.

and just so you know: science has just proven that being inside a forest is beneficial for our health (which we had already assumed before, hadn’t we? ;)). it reduces stress and the terpenes that plants emission to communicate with each other increase the power of our immune system.

we should all go for as much hikes as possible!

 

 

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found a broken glass bottle in the forest and picked up the shattered pieces.
please don’t leave glass in the woods, it can cause a fire!

 

 

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(the great odors)


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going steep

on monday, i took the day off work to have the chance for some spring splitboarding and new experiences.

we went down south across lower austria to reach the border of styria and parked our car near the small town of niederalpl. no one else was around, and we took off to a lonely tour up the rodel, a wellknown skitouring route, often-times flooded with people.

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the normal route leads over a small ladder and then up to the veitsch, but we turned right before that ladder to reach the bottom of the east facing walls of the großer wildkamm, as we had a different mission in mind.

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we changed from splitboard to crampons, mounted the boards on our packs, put our helmets on and then started the hike up the wide couloir.

i have participated in a course on how to use crampons and ice axe correctly (rock and the ice camp by Die Bergstation), but so far had never used my crampons during a real tour.

i had quite some respect mixed with a slight feeling of fear when we approached the start of the hike, but i immediately noticed again how well crampons hold onto a hard, slightly icy surface. roman went first and broke the trail for me. i was very thankful for that, this way, i didn’t have to focus on much else than following his steps and maybe looking up from time to time to avoid being hit by snow or rocks falling down. no need to scout the best line to climb, i knew i could trust him. this was a huge relief for me, because i can blend out my fear of heights better when i have something to stupidely focus on.

the steeper parts were actually easier to climb, because the footsteps are supported by more snow underneath and you can rest your legs a little. it gets tough to climb for about 45 minutes solely standing on your toes.

exhaustion kicked in when we were about half way up, but hearing that we had already made it to the upper half of the climb motivated me enough to keep pushing it.

we had to traverse to the right to get out of the couloir and i was nearly done with my nerves there. i was fueled by the thought that we’d be on top of the mountain in a few minutes and quickly made my way to the right.

when we reached the flatter part near the summit, i was overwhelmingly happy, surrounded by a feeling of safeness, thankfulness and pride. it was only a few steps more to the summit, so we left our equiment there for the last meters.

as we stood on the summit, i was so emotional i couldn’t prevent a few tears from running down.

we made an entry in the summit book (and found an old entry from the G and roman, “wos brauch i tirol” ;)) and then quickly went back to our little ski depot, where we took off the crampons, had a little bite to eat and something to drink and put our boards back into ride mode.

roman drew the first line and then i followed. the snow was perfect – not too hard anymore and not yet too soft and slow.

it was an awesome cruise down. i even tried a bit of McNab’s riding technique advice (great article, read it here), finishing one turn completely before starting the next one and it really made my turns more balanced and soft.

from the bottom of the couloir on, the snow was very warm already, making it a lot more exhausting to ride, but we had fun nonetheless. the last bit through the forest was a tad bit strenuous, but i still enjoyed it with every pore.

maybe this was our last splitboarding trip this year. maybe not. anyhow, it was a perfect day, crossing over the border of my comfort zone a bit and still feeling confident.

i’m very happy that i was able to achieve something i had never done before. it feels good to see signs of development and improvement.

thanks Roman for being my guide!Foto 1-1 Foto 2-1 Foto 3 Foto 4 Foto 5


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FWQ*** X-Over Ride 2015

X Over Ride 2015 - photo by frø-studio.com
me riding at the X Over 2015 – photo by frø-studio.com, thanks to Chevy for sharing it!

 

this past weekend, the FWQ*** X-Over Ride 2015 took place at the lovely Kitzsteinhorn in Salzburg.
i’ve always been a fan of the countryside of Salzburg, as i’ve been skiing and snowboarding there since i was a small kid. the country offers a beautiful mix of picturesque lakes, soft, green summits and harsh, rocky peaks. most of the people there are very friendly and usually address you with the informal “Du”, as if you were friends, which is not the case in the east of Austria, where foreigners are approached with the polite, but also distant “Sie”.
it’s the perfect place for holidays, no matter the season.

i had visited the Kitzsteinhorn many times before (read about our first descent on the Niedernsill freeride route with the Freeride Experience here) and also competed there in 2013, when a FWQ* took place at the Geißstein (vis-à-vis of the Lakarschneid). i had a great time at that contest, riding powder on a blue bird day and taking 3rd place.

as soon as i knew i was on the starting list of the FWQ*** X-Over Ride 2015, i looked forward to riding the graceful face of the Lakarschneid for the first time.
we packed our bags on friday morning, then drove to Kaprun and took the gondola up to the public area underneath the competition face.
the weather was not too good, but we had the chance to get a first quick glimpse of the competition face.
it looked rather promising with a layer of fresh snow and hardly any tracks.

after a quick lap on the official ski routes we had to take the gondola down to the valley again, as the time window for accreditation was approaching fast. we quickly checked in at our accommodation (a’nette pension – my recommendation! they truly pampered us there with delicious vegan food!) and then headed back to the Baumbar in Kaprun to sign up for the contest and collect our bibs. Roman got number 24 and i was number 2.
pictures were taken of everyone to show them on the big screen in the public area before everyones run.

afterwards, we went back to the pension, had dinner (yummmm!) and then drove back to the Baumbar again for the riders meeting.
we received an update on the safety instructions, judging criteria, the hike to the start and the conditions in the face. basically, we got told the face was going to be pretty ace.

on saturday, we got up early, had a quick breakfast and then drove to the glacier gondola again. we did another face check and then started the traverse to the beginning of the hike.
sadly, as i had bib number 2, we were the first people to start the traverse and we didn’t really knew where to go exactly, so we traversed too low and had to do a 20 minute hike up to the proper start of the hike before the real hike already. dang! at least we were warmed up properly :)
from there on, all went well, we hiked through a wide couloir, then over a small rock, which was a bit tricky, but everyone helped each other getting over the rocky part. it was a nice feeling to experience this community vibe!
after about 30 minutes we reached the starting area.
i had only a few minutes left to breathe, calm down, take a sip of water, hectically ask Roman to hand me my goggle out of my already strapped on backpack and – “bib number 2, ready to drop in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1” – off i went!

a great and rather unexpected asset of my personality is that i calm down rapidly as soon as i start doing something physically demanding. i can focus on the moment and concentrate on what i am doing and need to do right now and all other thoughts get muted. that’s also why i love sports so much – they clear my mind off all stuff that’s not so important in that very moment and puts things into perspective.

anyhow, my run was smooth, i should have gone faster, i should have done a jump in the lower part of the face, but still, i didn’t fall (a nice experience after setting my personal contest tumble record of 3 at the montafon contest) and so i felt good. it was a real pleasure to ride, the snow was pretty okay for me (it got slushier every minute), my mood was fine and so i arrived in the finish area happily.
i stayed in the finish area together with some of the other girls and we cheered for the riders who just finished their run. it was a nice, friendly atmosphere and i enjoyed being part of it.

i waited anxiously for Romans run and then witnessed how he also came down pretty smoothly, did some small drops and jumps and then arrived at the finish area satisfied.

we watched the whole contest and, although we used sunblock, got a fresh goggle tan.

the prize giving ceremony was very happy and delightful, congrats to all people who made it onto the podium and to the four new Austrian Freeride Series champs, Manuela Mandl (Snowboard), Jacoba Kriechmayr (Ski), Julian “Theking” Zenzmaier (Ski) and Thomas Feurstein (Snowboard)!

 

after the prize giving, Roman and i approached the snowboard head judge to find out our results – Roman came in 13th and i scored 5th place! very happy about these results! :)
finally a good result and a good ending for the contest season! i’m motivated for the rest of the winter season (hopefully some spring touring!) and already looking forward to the next competitions!
thanks to PIEPS and Julbo Eyewear for supporting me!

here’s a video of my run!

 

Results X Over Ride Snowboard Women:
X Over Ride 2015 Results SB Women, 1 - Mikaela Hollsten (FIN) 2 - Bettina Pickl (AUT) 3 - Manuela Mandl (AUT) 4 - Siobhan Challis (AUT) 5 - Stephanie Jagl-Posch (AUT) 6 - Caroline Onarheim (NOR) 7 - Laura Perfler (AUT)

p.s.: you can help me win a surftrip to Portugal by voting for my video on mysession.tv – you can vote once a day! thank you!


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Contests – A walk on a thin line between fun and frustration.

i had big plans for this season. i wanted to work my way up in the Austrian Freeride Ranking. i wished to show my best riding in the contests of the season and hoped for great moments. i aimed to become a better rider and collect lots of experience. i signed up for more contests than in the last two years to be able to accomplish these dreams.

so how is the season coming along so far? well, it’s not looking too promising, honestly.
i have competed in four contests up until now, the FWQ* Hochkönig (replacement for the cancelled contest due to fog on the Hochkar – read my article on powderguide.com about that: http://www.powderguide.com/magazin/events/fwt/artikel/1-fwq-open-faces-hochkar-musste-leider-abgesagt-werden.html), the FWQ** Kappl (article on PG), the Pitztal Wildface (a race on time, counting as FWQ**) and the FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon.

while i had the chance to get to know other riders and new resorts, i wasn’t really successful in any of the contests. granted, i got better results pointwise than in the contests before this season, but i never made it into the top half of the results.
it’s hard to acknowledge these results as a sign of progression, so i started to get a little frustrated.

adding to the negative feelings were the bad conditions we face this winter in Austria. they aren’t so bad you can’t get in some great days in the mountains, in fact, i’ve had a wonderful vacation in January, a great powder day in Zauchensee with newly found friends Claudia Klobasa and Michael Holzmeier, a wonderful splitboard touring day on the Göller in Lower Austria, as well as our annual descent from the Kitzsteinhorn to Niedernsill, but it’s just not good enough for me to be able to have funny snow days in between contests. as you may know, i work as a Web Developer in Vienna, which means that i can’t simply hike up a mountain before or after work without being completely knackered. most weekends were contest weekends.

göller, eisgrube. sunday funday! #splitboarding #pieps @julboeyewear @powderguide

Ein von steeephiii (@steeephiii) gepostetes Foto am 15. Feb 2015 um 5:54 Uhr

i tried to do my best, working out as much as possible and eating healthily, but due to all the travelling i have to do i hardly find time for recreational activities like for example my usual friday after work run in nature, which often helps me recharge my batteries.
i’m not complaining, because this is what i chose for myself to do, but it was simply a bit of an unlucky situation i was in.

to top it off, i’m having more colds this winter than i had in probably the last five winters together. i wasn’t feeling well in 2 out of 3 contests. how am i gonna show my best when i’m not feeling my best?

 

thankfully, the pages started to turn a little before the last contest, the FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon.
first off, i seeked advice from more experienced riders (thanks for your input, Manu!) and noticed that i had put too much pressure on myself and that i was eliminating the fun i usually have snowboarding this way.
secondly, i was in a good mood during the contest and i was very proud of myself that i managed the hike (really, the last part of it was more of a climb) to the start gate. it was also my first 3-star competition ever and i was happy that i had made it onto the starting list. i had a good time and enjoyed chatting with people, especially Caroline Mølgaard Onarheim (check out the blog she and her friend Mikaela Hollsten run!), who’s doing a winter season at the Arlberg.

 

i still have 2 contests ahead of me, the FWQ** Big Mountain Goldeck and the FWQ*** X-Over Kitzsteinhorn.
i have no idea how the rest of the contest season will unfold for me, but i’ll keep on trying my best. the contest season will be over at the end of march, and i hope that we can score some nice days touring and freeriding out in the wild until the snow fades away.

 

some pics from the contests so far:

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
starting my run at Hochkönig

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
chatting with Holzi after our runs

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
somehow my head looks funny in this pic!

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
highfivin Janine Quaas

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
SB Women Podium Hochkönig

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
SB Women Podium Hochkönig

FWQ** Kappl Contestface
the Contest Face in Kappl

FWQ** Kappl
waiting in Kappl and dreaming about a hot sauna

FWQ** Kappl - Roman
Roman throwing down in Kappl

Pitztal Wildface Face Check - Hike to Mittagskogel
hiking up to the Mittagskogel for the face check at the Pitztal Wildface

Pitztal Wildface Face Check Crew
Pitztal Wildface face check Mittagskogel – we have survived ;)

FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon
FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon – the climb up to the start
pic by skyhot


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Hello Julbo Eyewear!

a short time ago, i got offered a sponsorship by Julbo, a company founded by Jules Baud in france more than 125 years ago, that manufactures glasses, sunglasses, goggles and helmets. they have heroes in their team like skier Glen Plake or climber Ines Papert. of course i was happy about this offer and agreed.
on the second of january, just before we headed to Großarl, i received a package from Julbo, containing 2 goggles (Orbiter and Eclipse), 1 pair of sunglasses (Suspect) and 1 helmet (Dune).

Julbo Glasses & Helmet
glasses from top to bottom: Julbo Eclipse, Julbo Suspect, Julbo Orbiter. Julbo Dune helmet.

 

i’m going to give a short feedback on the products, in case you’re interested in getting new equipment.
i have tested them on the slopes, as well as when freeriding and on splitboard tour.

the goggles both sit very comfortably, also perfectly in combination with the helmet, offering a rather wide view. both glasses adjust to the lightness automatically. the Zebra Light glasses are suited for a weather range of partly sunny to overcast or foggy. the Zebra glasses are good on days where the weather lies between sunshine and slightly overcast conditions.
the visibility is very clear. i have so far never had glasses that adjust to the lightness and i was positively surprised at how well the adjustment works! no changing of glasses anymore, that’s really nice!
the goggles are permanently ventilated, which is an important feature in my book.

the helmet is rather lightweight, offering a cozy fit. the size can be finetuned by the turn of a wheel on the back of the helmet – i love that! no matter if i’m wearing a skull cap or nothing underneath, i can adjust the helmet to a tight fit in the matter of a second.

the sunglasses are as light as a feather. they feel very durable. we will see, how they hold up over time, but i’m positive.
they sit snugly, which means they don’t shake around when moving, but still they don’t press into the temples of my face. this is important, because when i go on a splitboard tour and the weather is good, i usually will be wearing the sunglasses for 2 to 3 hours. if the sunglasses start to hurt, you have to wear them over a headband or beanie to avoid pain. this causes a looser fit and more movement of the sunglasses, which is not very desireable.

to sum it up, i’m very satisfied with the products i received and will happily use them whenever i go ride.
thanks Julbo for your trust and support!
-> visit the Julbo website


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Winter Inauguration 2015.

to celebrate the newborn winter season 2014/2015, Roman and I went on a 9 day pow searching mission in Austria from friday, the 2nd january 2015 on.
our powder in the east (PIE) buddy G. came over and we hit the road to Salzburg together.
we met up with a group of PIE members in Großarl in the evening and made plans for the next day.

saturday morning, we started our first tour and hiked up to the Penkkopf, one of the most visited mountaintops in the Großarl region. Roman and I had already been up there before, so we knew that this tour was perfect as a starter. first you start out pretty mellow with a long hike along a shallow path through a dreamy winter wonderland, then the track steepens for the last hour or so until you reach the flat peak. from there, you have a great view all around, from Großarl to Kleinarl, which lies on the other side of the mountain.
after a short break on the mountaintop, we had a fun ride down. the snow conditions were pretty good, we had enough snow to ride without the risk of hitting rocks or trees situated underneath the snow and even found some entertaining pillows and small jumps.

View from the Penkkopf
view from the summit of Penkkopf.

on sunday, the weather had gone bad, with limited view, snowfall and lots of wind. we decided to play it safe and ride the slopes of Großarl.
as we all hadn’t had the chance to ride a lot prior to this trip, it was a great opportunity to get used to riding again. luckily, after several years of snowboarding, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it again. i have to say, i really noticed how much my riding has improved during the last winter season. i’m very thankful for that. seems like the bad conditions were useful after all!

we played around, explored the fresh snow next to the slopes and had a surprisingly awesome day.

on monday, it was time to say goodbye to the PIE group and Großarl. Roman and I hopped into the car and headed over to Obertauern, where we were able to stay at Hotel Leitner (nice place directly at the slopes, with breakfast buffet and sauna – check it out if you seek accommodation in Obertauern!).
we met up with F., a friend of G., and plowed through the fresh snow next to the slopes. the view was still limited, so we stuck to humble tree runs but still had a great time.

Sunrise in Obertauern
good morning, Obertauern!

tuesday was the first day with sunny weather and fresh pow, as well as a national holiday, which meant that lots of people came to the resort and ventured into the backcountry. we decided to stay on the safe side (after all, we still had an avalanche risk of 3 out of 5) and first warmed up next to the slopes. we hit some drops, did some turns and after about an hour, decided to explore some of the safer routes out of bounds.
i have to say, i’m not one who chases first lines, i’m more of a safety lover. i’d rather be safe and maybe ride a slope where there’s already some tracks inside, than go out of my way to be the first to ride somewhere.
there will be times when the conditions will be just right anyways and then i will be able to truly enjoy drawing first lines.
still, we had no problem finding paths to ride that were enjoyable, occasionally scoring face shots as well as dropping and jumping around.

on wednesday we pulled out our touring gear and went on a hike to the Große Kesselspitze, which lies next to the resort of Obertauern, but can’t be accessed by the lifts.
the weather felt like spring (oh no, not again, just like last winter! ;)) as we walked through a lovely forest and then spitzkehred our way up to the top. the last few meters to the summit have to be climbed, so we left our equipment at the ski depot to check out the view on this sunny day.
we met a few other ski touring folks and talked to them about the possible descent on the south facing slope. originally, we had planned to ride down the ascent route as a safety measure, but since the snow seemed to be good, we decided to follow the tracks of the other guys.
it was a great idea and a memorable descent!

On top of the Große Kesselspitze
Roman checking the view on the summit of the Große Kesselspitze.

The rocky path up to the Summit of Große Kesselspitze
a look back to the rocky path up to the Summit.

A look back on the descent of Große Kesselspitze
this was our lovely way down!

 

thursday was our planned travel and chill day. Roman wanted to try out a new binding, so we went to the Blue Tomato test center in Obertauern, where he received a now! binding to test.
as we stood around in the shop, M., one of the shop dudes, asked if we were interested in giving him company for a short freeride intermezzo. we shortly discussed if this sounded like a good idea or not (after all, knees were sore and a freeride camp was coming up) but then made up our minds and told M. that we were going to join him.
in the mean time, his shred buddy B. had arrived and we headed up to the chair lift together.
after two warm up runs, we started to hike towards the Seekarspitze. after about 30 minutes, we reached our destination and each of us found an individual spot to drop in. my route was steep at the top and i couldn’t clearly see if there were rocks beneath me, so i decided to head to the left after dropping in, to ride around that overhanging part. snow was good and we all had a good time cruising down.
afterwards, we said goodbye and headed back to the shop, where Roman finally bought the bindings.

shortly after his purchase, we drove to Bad Mitterndorf and checked into our apartment. the rest of the day was spent relaxing, in the evening we visited Steph from Die Bergstation for a chat and a Zirbenschnaps.

I ho Hoamweh noch BA
Mitterndorf, here we come!

friday morning meant the start of yet another freeride day, only this time not on our own but with a group of lovely, funny people, most of them already familiar faces, as we were part of the motherland anniversary camp.
happy campers cruised and hiked, and faster than we could point out shit, the day was over.
everybody seemed sore but satisfied.

Mitterndorf Sunset.
the sun setting like crazy over Bad Mitterndorf.

during the night, it started to pour down like crazy. on saturday, a lot of the snow in town had melted or been washed away. also, it was very stormy, so much that all the lifts were closed.
Steph and Markus, our guides, let us decide if we wanted to go ride the slopes of Riesneralm or do an avy training.
we all preferred to work on our avalanche rescue skills, and so we went up to the Schönialm by car, where we first got served hot drinks by the friendly Schönialm staff, although it was their day off – thanks again!
the guide team explained the proper process when solving an avalanche accident and then we went outside to work on our practical skills. we split up in two groups, got tips on our shoveling technique and then hid a few avalanche transceivers and backpacks for the other group to search.
our guides played eye witnesses who had just seen a group of people go down with an avalanche. and they did it very well – Steph pretended to be totally devastated and in panic, we hardly were able to get out any info from him and even needed to do a body check to find out if he was carrying an avalanche transceiver, which might interfere with our search.
as our group consisted of 4 people with 3 of us knowing each other pretty well, our rescue went fine and we finished solving the problem of multiple buried transceivers and probing for a backpack rather quickly. statistically, everyone could have survived, as we were finished in about 12 minutes, if i remember that correctly.
the result felt really good and i am sure that we were able to better our skills.
hopefully, we will never need to use our knowledge, but it’s good to feel prepared and able to help.

on sunday, we faced yet another slush day and roman and i decided to skip riding and go home instead.
we had had a great week of riding and felt no need in fighting with wet, heavy snow. our thighs agreed ;)

 

Going Home sad.
going home – happy because of the great days we had, sad that the weather wasn’t on our side for the last day.

 

tomorrow it’s time for the first FWQ contest of the season at the Hochkar in Lower Austria, wish me luck!


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Splitboard Article in Volume Magazine

a short time ago, Roman and myself were asked to write an article for an austrian music magazine called Volume for their Freeride Special on the topic of Splitboarding. we sat down, thought about it, started to write, erased parts again but finally finished the piece and called it “Split it – Die Geschichte des Splitboards und wofür es gut ist”.

Volume Magazin

read it online here:
-> http://www.volume.at/magazin/kategorie-uebersicht/detailansicht/m05/4856/

 

thanks to Stephan from Die Bergstation for inviting us to be part of this Freeride Special!

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